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Identifying All Complaints—Even the Hidden Ones

Identifying All Complaints—Even the Hidden Ones


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Identifying All Complaints—Even the Hidden Ones

18 Nov 2021

Eric Brown
A stressed out individual

Excluding PPI complaints, the number of new complaints to the UK’s Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) rose by 58% year-on-year, rising to 235,993 from 149,315 in 2019/20, with an uphold rate of 40%. Regardless of the fact that 60% of these complaints weren’t upheld, the reality that so many complaints are getting as far as the FOS is of particular concern for the financial services sector, suggesting that more and more complaints aren’t being satisfactorily resolved. It begs the question, why is this the case? Particularly with so many financial services organizations now having robust complaint management procedures in place.

One potential answer is that not all complaints are being correctly identified as complaints and therefore aren’t treated as such, ultimately remaining unresolved. So, how can you as a financial services business avoid this scenario?

Well, a complaint doesn’t have to include the word ‘complaint’. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) defines a complaint as an ‘expression of dissatisfaction (oral or written) about the provision of, or failure to provide, a financial service’. It’s the same in Australia, where the new RG 271 guidance requires businesses to capture and deal with every dissatisfaction that’s raised, without the customers specifying in the first instance that they’re making a complaint.

Spotting Complaints Across Multiple Communications Channels

In light of this guidance, it’s not hard to see why some complaints fall through the gaps. The number of complaints that are missed is perhaps exacerbated by the increasing variety of communications channels that customers use to connect with your business. More customers want a truly omni-channel experience and it’s best practice to enable them to use their preferred communications channels to communicate with you—be that social media, email, web forms, phone or written letter.

To make sure this works for you and the customer, all communications channels should be treated equally. Your complaint handling teams should not only monitor the more traditional comms channels for complaints, but ensure they’re fully integrated with social media teams too. Additionally, if complaint handlers are separate from your social media team, those dealing with the social media side need to be trained up in what constitutes a complaint and how it should be dealt with.

Ultimately, the key is to capture every complaint, regardless of how it’s received. Just because the customer doesn’t specifically state that they’re making a complaint, doesn’t mean they’re not. By recording every identified complaint, you’re guaranteed a reliable, traceable record of the customer’s complaint journey.

The best way to do this is through a complaint management system. Such solutions ensure that all complaints or ‘expressions of dissatisfaction’ are recorded, processed and tracked, no matter how they enter the business and no matter who is on the receiving end of the initial communication.

Signposting Next Steps With an Intelligent Complaints Management System

Your front-line staff who are having these customer interactions need to be trained on the many forms that a complaint can take. The right complaint management system can support the next steps, with intelligent workflows signposting the next best course of action for your customer’s particular circumstances, ensuring that not only is the complaint recorded correctly, but managed and hopefully resolved efficiently too. This technology can highlight any escalation that’s required and track the entire progress of the complaint through to resolution.

This approach means that more complaints will be resolved satisfactorily for customers as well as ensuring you deal with all complaints in-line with regulatory requirements. Putting the right combination of skills and systems in place will ensure the comprehensive identification and recording of all complaints. This paves the way for more efficient and effective resolutions, lessens the risks of losing valuable customers and ensures you don’t fall foul of the regulators.

For more information on how our complaints management software, Aptean Respond, can help ensure the correct identification and management of all your customer complaints, contact us today.

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